Mir, Mir--In the Sky...
News story originally written on January 12, 1999

...How long will he have to fly?

Cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev is expected to remain aboard the Mir space station for an extra 99 days because of money problems within the Russian government.

On February 20th, Russia is expected to launch a Soyuz capsule with two foreign passengers and a Russian commander. The capsule only holds three people so there isn't any room for Avdeyev to return. The financially-strapped government can't bump either of the foreigners--they're paying for the ride.

The United States no longer maintains a presence on Mir. Russia had planned to retire Mir to focus on building the International Space Station. Funding problems for Russian components have delayed constructions of the ISS by over a year.

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